But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.
During a 1976 interview with Playboy magazine, then presidential candidate Jimmy Carter said, “I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery many times in my heart.” Society lampooned Carter for his statement, but he did express an understanding of sin that goes deeper than outward actions.
A key question to answer regarding our walk with the Lord is whether we are obedient to his Word. But as this text indicates, we should ask an even deeper question, “Are we obedient from the heart?” That is, is our obedience more than mere outward conformity? God has called us to an obedience that wells up from the heart into our outward actions. Or in other words, do we have a deep desire to walk in obedience?
And then the Murders Began
Author Marc Laidlaw challenged Twitter to add the line “and then the murders began” to the opening line of great books. The most famous opening line of any novel is from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. Here is how Laidlaw’s challenge works on that line. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and then the murders began.”
That’s pretty good. But some tweeted the opening line of the book of books, the Bible.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth, and then the murders began.
By the time we get to Genesis 4 that scenario happens.
During my days of hotel work, I often served as a concierge. Guests often asked for recommendations to local points of interest. These points might be things to do, attractions to see or places to eat.
Concierge is a feature that points to destinations online for guests to this blog. Here are some of my favorite places found in August of 2017.
This week the Nashville Statement was signed and released by Evangelical Christian leaders meeting in the city of Nashville, TN. As a Prodigal Pilgrim, I have added my signature to the document in affirmation of what is written and taught in it.
As a prodigal I sadly understand that sexual activity outside of the biblical framework of marriage is destructive and sinful. As a pilgrim the Lord has taught me afresh the beauty and joy of the marriage act.
Recently I wrote an article about self-forgiveness, Are You Supposed to Forgive Yourself?. I know that my content runs contrary to much of what is espoused in our culture of therapeutic religion. This religion promotes self above all else. If you struggle with what I wrote, I am provided some other references of Bible teachers who hold to the same view I do. Perhaps their words will help shed some more light on the subject.
It is often said that we cannot forgive if we do not forget the offense against us. This has been preached from Christian pulpits and from secular psychologists.
The question we must ask is whether this is the teaching of Scripture. I don’t think that it is. Those who proclaim this teaching usually do so from a desire to demonstrate a desirable virtue. I am not questioning their motives.
When you sin and experience guilt, are you supposed to forgive yourself?
Recently I taught a short series on Jesus and forgiveness to our Bible Study group. Along the way I compiled a list of some questions about forgiveness that arose from that study and from things I have read in other places. This issue of forgiving yourself is front and center on the whole topic of forgiveness.
You might have heard it put something like this, “You can’t begin to forgive others until you first forgive yourself.” One internet article title begins, “How I finally forgave myself.”
But the Christian must ask whether this is part of Christianity or is it really some other religion.
Recently I posted my book review of Sinclair Ferguson’s book, Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification. This work has been one that was good for my mind and soul.
Here I am sharing my ten favorite quotes from the book. The best way to read each quote is to do so slowly and give thought to what is being communicated. Each quote is in the form of tweet. If you are on Twitter, I encourage you to tweet at least one of them (more is better). If you have room use the hashtag #DevotedToGod.
Devoted to God is Sinclair Ferguson‘s contribution on the subject of the believer’s sanctification. Ferguson is a pastor-theologian. He has ability to both grasp biblical truth and to communicate that truth to the Christian community.
The author intends to provide a manual of biblical teaching on holiness. The reader is intended to learn how to glorify and enjoy God by growing in holiness. Since the Lord is holy, we are to be holy.